Never mind that low back pain is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. according to the CDC. While it’s an ‘impressive’ statistic, you can only really appreciate the agony of lower back pain if you have experienced it firsthand.
And whether your low back pain is acute (flared up) or chronic (long-standing), it should be enough motivation to take the steps to get it under control and also to prevent future problems.
Most experts agree that one of the keys to improving the health of your back is to stretch the muscles in and around the low back and to also strengthen and stabilize your ‘core.’ And by core I am referring to the muscles in the back and front of your lower spine that work in concerted effort to keep your upright while also enabling you to move freely so you can do things like run, jump and stand up.
Your Express Keller Chiropractor wants you to be able to stretch and strengthen your core but sticking with the ‘Express’ theme….he also doesn’t want it to take you all day to get it done.
So, based on that, try the simple exercises below to help reduce your chance that pain in your lower back will be a factor in your life.
These exercises can be done at work or home since none of them require any specialized equipment.
This is a classic stretch that we have all done. While there are many ways to stretch the dreaded hamstrings, a safe and effective stretch is to sit on a bench or edge of a chair and simply your right leg out in front of you so the heel is on the floor and toe in the air. Now, while keeping the opposite leg bent, reach out for the toe of the right leg until you feel a moderate, yet comfortable, pull in the back of it.
Hold it for 20 seconds. Now switch and extend the left leg with the right leg bent. Repeat this 3 times to each side.
Piriformis Knee Pulls
Lay on your back with your back relaxed. Bend your right knee and bring it towards your chest (foot off the floor) so you can reach it with your hands. Now slowly pull that knee towards your opposite shoulder. Hold a moderate stretch for 20 seconds. You should feel the pull or stretch in the back of the right hip which is where the piriformis muscle is located.
Slowly lower the leg back down to a straight position and repeat with the opposite leg. Do the stretch 3 times on each side.
While you are on your back, you can smoothly move to the next exercise for strengthening.
Supine Hip Raises
This exercise is definitely a standard in the world of core strengthening. To do this important exercise, lie down in a supine (on your back) position and bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor.
While lying on your back with your bottom of your feet flat on the floor, begin to tighten your stomach muscles. As you do this begin to slowly raise your hips off the floor. Keep elevating them until your knees to your shoulders is a straight line that is angled up towards the tops of your knees.
Stay in the position for up to 20 seconds and then slowly lower the hips back towards the floor and then repeat this exercise again after resting just a few seconds. Try to do 10 repetitions total.
Now move on to the next exercise after completing this exercise.
Opposite Leg Elevations
Lying supine (on your back), relax your back. Bend your left leg is the foot is flat on the floor or mat. The right leg should still be extended out straight.
Slowly elevate the right leg until it is about 5 inches off the floor. This will definitely require you to tighten your stomach muscles to accomplish this.
Hold the right leg off the ground for 10 to 20 seconds and then repeat this while lifting the opposite leg. Repeat 10 times for each leg.
While doing any exercises, keep in mind that you should not experience pain while performing them. If you do have anything other than a moderate pull or slight ‘burn,’ then stop and see your local Keller Chiropractor or other health provider to make sure there is no contraindication to performing the stretching and strengthening exercises.